Vancouver Mission Star
This message was written by President and Sister Middleton. It also appears in the Vancouver Star, the weekly newsletter of the Vancouver Mission. It is sent to each companionship throughout the mission.
There Aren’t Many “Unbaptized Mormons”
For many years Church members have urged each other to pray that they will meet someone they can tell about the Gospel. In talking with B.C. members and B.C. Church leaders we are realizing that nearly all members are praying to meet an individual who is a Latter-day Saint in every way except for being baptized. They await the day when they will be led by inspiration to an individual who has no word of wisdom problems, whose personal life style is like that of a member who holds a temple recommend, who is happily married, or chaste if not, who is a solid worker in an excellent vocation or is well on his or her way through training to an excellent vocation. In other words, members are waiting to meet someone who in their mind’s eye is an “unbaptized Mormon”, and anyone who doesn’t fit that mold isn’t worth their time and emotional commitment to tell about our Church.
There is the occasional individual in B.C. who fits that description, and as missionaries we need to be certain all who fit this description are told lovingly but boldly of the eternal blessings they will gain by being baptized.
However, flawless individuals who might be thought of as “unbaptized Mormons” are rare, and most Church members will never meet such an individual in their lifetime.
Members Are Urged To Be Bold
We no longer are asking members to pray that they will find someone prepared for the Gospel message; most members who are waiting for that “unbaptized Mormon” to walk into their lives need to become aware that it simply won’t happen. Instead, we pray constantly that members will gain courage to invite their non-member friends to meet the missionaries on a Tour of their chapel (the easiest, least-threatening approach in B.C.) or by some other method. We pray constantly that our members will become bold. That missionary approach that we pray all of our members will adopt is described in the Book of Mormon where it counsels each of us to “Use boldness, but not overbearance.” Alma 38:12
Virtually all Church members in B.C. have dozens if not hundreds of non-member acquaintances. They simply need the courage to invite them to come on a Tour of their church. Our members need to be convinced that they already have the “heart” which was sought by Dorothy’s lion friend in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Members Should Invite Everyone They Know
Bishop Harry McLean of the Burnaby Ward in the Vancouver Stake has prepared a marvelous training guide for his members, “Sharing the Gospel.” He is calling specifically each of his ward members to go through a 5-week course using his manual as the course guide. A critically important point made in his manual is that most members harbor the false idea that “if we become close friends with someone, it will increase the likelihood that he or she will accept an invitation to learn more about the Church.” An analysis of this notion, Bishop McLean’s booklet notes, “is false, deceptive and time-consuming. There are no pre-requisite social engagements that must precede invitations to learn about the Gospel. You should …..invite everybody.” Any acquaintance, anyone to whom you would say hello as you pass them, is someone whom you should invite on a Tour of the Church, or by some other method invite them to be introduced to the Church.
Urge Members to “Set A Date”
Bishop McLean has reprinted Elder M. Russell Ballard’s marvelous Nov. 1986 Ensign article, “We Proclaim the Gospel.” In it Elder Ballard urges every one of us members to set a date by which we will invite someone to come to our Church. We don’t necessarily have to have a close non-member friend in mind, but rather we simply must have the faith that one or more of our non-member acquaintances will accept our invitation to see our Church on a Tour before the date we have set for ourselves. No member is exempt. Elder Ballard urges each of us to share the date we have chosen with the missionaries and bishop or branch president, and then prayerfully choose an acquaintance or acquaintances to bring to the Church. That prayer must include asking for courage and boldness. It works! The Lord will help each of us.
The Sister Ma Example
We have never seen Sister Ma, who is a member of the Wah Yan Chinese Ward, inside a Church building without a non-member friend at her side. She probably does come to Church occasionally without an investigator along, but we have never seen it. Sister Ma has been responsible for over 20 baptisms, including one last week! Her invitations to her acquaintances to join her at Church have always been lovingly made, and we are not aware of her invitations ever jeopardizing or fracturing any of her many friendships. That we may all become like Sister Ma, inviting any and all friends to our Church, is our constant prayer.
We love you, and revel with you in being part of the Lord’s missionary work in British Columbia.
President and Sister Middleton
Remember our mission goal: 10 Gospel contacts per day per missionary outside our usual finding and teaching duties.
That includes a Gospel message to everyone you see.
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37
Reminder: We are praying for at least one baptism per companionship per transfer – More than one if you and your ward or branch is filled with faith. Set your baptismal goal prayerfully as a companionship, a goal that will stretch your faith and missionary abilities.
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